“F1 could go four-wheel drive”
Proposal has drawn mixed reaction from teams
Formula 1 chiefs have considered a proposal to introduce fourwheel-drive to the sport when the engine regulations are updated from 2021 onwards.
It is among the proposals, which also include simplifying the hybrid parts to bring down costs in the sport.
The move would make the cars similar to the system that Porsche uses in the World Endurance Championship, where energy is harvested from the front axle and then redeployed later in the lap, which makes the car four-wheel-drive at certain points.
The system has benefits in allowing cars to follow each other more closely to aid overtaking, but it would also increase the base weight of the car.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is in favour of the plan. He said: “There are various possibilities and front motors is one.
“It’s not that we are absolutely stuck on implementing front motors but we have to discuss all possible technologies that can compensate for the lack of power.”
However, not all team heads were in favour of the move. Haas boss Gene Haas said: “It’s the same trap F1 got itself into when it selected this [current] engine.
“It seemed like a simple idea but when you started doing the engineering it became very, very complex.
“We have to be very careful before we say ‘let’s just throw a four-wheeldrive car out there’, because it could be another one of those ones where one team will probably hit a home-run and the rest of us will be struggling with trying to catch up with that.”
Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul said: “Liberty will have to take a position and to accept maybe to make some people unhappy.
“It’s going to be difficult to make fans, independent engine firms like Cosworth, teams that do not have a technology message like Red Bull, happy, but at the same time keep the manufacturers, the petrol companies and bring new manufacturers.”
Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne has suggested he would not accept a simple engine. “The knowledge and technology of the Ferrari tradition can not be undone by the objective to reduce costs,” he said.
Four-wheel-drive has not been used in F1 since 1971, when Lotus fielded a 56B in the Dutch and Italian
Grands Prix, without success.